The view out the windows is spectacular as we speed over Oregon and catch glimpses of Mount Hood and other snow capped peaks while the Active Sky generated weather reflects the real world conditions of low broken clouds along the way. Active Sky also imports the true winds aloft data which obviously changes our ground speed and wind correction angles.
Soon it is time to start thinking about starting our decent and setting up for our landing in SFO. The FO hands me the landing data card which has our speeds written on it. I also set the conditions into the Approach Brief pop-up window.
Our arrival takes us down through the STINS1 STAR which has already been programmed into the FMC. The FMC also aids us in our vertical profile management by giving us projected descent rates to meet the various crossing restrictions. I prefer to descend at about 1500 fpm which gives me plenty of time during the descent to handle all of the tasks coming at me. Once the vertical speed required approaches 1500 fpm it is a simple task to command the autopilot to descend at 1500 fpm to keep you on the desired profile.
Soon we are crossing STINS intersection and making the left turn toward the airport just off Point Lobos. We descend gradually in steps until we are at 4,000’.
Throughout the descent I’m interacting with the FS2Crew FO and flight attendant to assure the checklists are being accomplished and the cabin is ready for arrival. We’ll be shooting the ILS 28 into SFO and we go about the business of setting up the NAV radios for the approach, setting the inbound course, reviewing the altitudes and missed approach information. Soon we start taking vectors for the approach as we break off from the arrival and we cruise on the long downwind to the ILS past the city.
We are fortunate that the weather is so good in SFO today, much of the time the conditions are very foggy. I glance across the cockpit and can see the end of runway 28 sliding past the window as we continue on the downwind leg.